Phalangeriformes

Phalangeriformes /fəˈlænərɪfɔːrmz/ is a paraphyletic[1] suborder of about 70 species of small to medium-sized arboreal marsupials native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi.[2] The species are commonly known as possums, gliders, and cuscus. The common name "possum" for various Phalangeriformes species derives from the creatures' resemblance to the opossums of the Americas (the term comes from Powhatan language aposoum "white animal", from Proto-Algonquian *wa·p-aʔɬemwa "white dog"). However, although opossums are also marsupials, Australasian possums are more closely related to other Australasian marsupials such as kangaroos.

Phalangeriformes
Temporal range: Oligocene–present
Phalangeriformes.jpg
Scientific classificationEdit this classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Suborder: Phalangeriformes
Szalay in Archer, 1982
Groups included
Cladistically included but traditionally excluded taxa

Phalangeriformes are quadrupedal diprotodont marsupials with long tails. The smallest species, indeed the smallest diprotodont marsupial, is the Tasmanian pygmy possum, with an adult head-body length of 70 mm (2+34 in) and a weight of 10 g (38 oz). The largest are the two species of bear cuscus, which may exceed 7 kg (15 lb 7 oz). Phalangeriformes species are typically nocturnal and at least partially arboreal. They inhabit most vegetated habitats, and several species have adjusted well to urban settings. Diets range from generalist herbivores or omnivores (the common brushtail possum) to specialist browsers of eucalyptus (greater glider), insectivores (mountain pygmy possum) and nectar-feeders (honey possum).

ClassificationEdit

 
Sugar gliders at mealtime
 
The diminutive feathertail glider

About two-thirds of Australian marsupials belong to the order Diprotodontia, which is split into three suborders, namely the Vombatiformes (wombats and the koala, four species in total); the large and diverse Phalangeriformes (the possums and gliders) and Macropodiformes (kangaroos, potoroos, wallabies and the musky rat-kangaroo). Note: this classification is based on Ruedas & Morales 2005.[clarification needed] However, Phalangeriformes has been recovered as paraphyletic with respect to Macropodiformes, rendering the latter a subset of the former if Phalangeriformes are to be considered a natural group.[3][4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Eldridge, Mark D B; Beck, Robin M D; Croft, Darin A; Travouillon, Kenny J; Fox, Barry J (23 May 2019). "An emerging consensus in the evolution, phylogeny, and systematics of marsupials and their fossil relatives (Metatheria)". Journal of Mammalogy. 100 (3): 802–837. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyz018. ISSN 0022-2372.
  2. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). "Suborder Phalangeriformes". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 44–56. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ Warburton, Natalie M.; Prideaux, Gavin J. (2021). "The skeleton of Congruus kitcheneri, a semiarboreal kangaroo from the Pleistocene of southern Australia". Royal Society Open Science. 8 (3): 202216. doi:10.1098/rsos.202216. PMC 8074921. PMID 33959368.
  4. ^ Eldridge, Mark D B; Beck, Robin M D; Croft, Darin A; Travouillon, Kenny J; Fox, Barry J (23 May 2019). "An emerging consensus in the evolution, phylogeny, and systematics of marsupials and their fossil relatives (Metatheria)". Journal of Mammalogy. 100 (3): 802–837. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyz018. ISSN 0022-2372.

Further readingEdit